Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Lindows OS 4.0 – Mozilla makes it better

LindowsOS, the home-user-orientated commercial Linux distro, will include Mozilla 1.3 in place of Netscape 7.0 in its forthcoming LindowsOS 4.0 release. Michael Robertson, who founded the company, has summed up what’s so good about the new OS release, and has even said that it is better than XP. A bold claim to make.

In fact, 3 out of the 10 reasons are directly related to the inclusion of Mozilla 1.3 – blocking of popups, junk mail filtering and tabbed browsing – and one of them relates to font smoothing which is presumably enabled my default. Like in every other recent Linux distro…
It even compares Windows with LindowsOS to show how much better the font smoothing is. This, in my mind, isn’t entirely fair – XP does have a superb font smoothing mode called ClearType, but usually it’s turned off by default. Personally I think that was a stupid decision on Microsoft’s part because ClearType is one of XP’s killer features in my mind, particularly on a laptop or LCD screen. While it is a little sneaky for Michael to say that Windows does not have this feature, the option to enable it is so well hidden that most users are probably unaware of its existence.
Another claim, that LindowsOS is the first operating system to ship with the default instant messenger program that connects to them all [IM Networks] is also dubious – Mandrake comes with exactly the same program (GAIM) and I’m sure many other distros do. That said, enabling support for MSN, Yahoo and IRC wasn’t that straightforward for me when I tried – I had to add the plugins manually (why wasn’t that done for me?) and you could argue that the inclusion of Licq means that GAIM isn’t the default client.
Still, despite these criticisms, I’m happy that LindowsOS is doing well. And it is only $50 for a fully fledged OS, compared to XP which is $90 for the Home Edition with just the basics. That said, the likes of RedHat and Mandrake are getting easier to use with every release and they’re both still free.
Thanks to Asa Dotzler for the link.

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